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Care Together co-operative generating in-home care and jobs for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

A Care Together Project

KCLC’s Care Factor Co-operative: Logan City’s first cross-sector and culturally safe worker-owned co-operative

Project location

The project is place-based in Logan City, Queensland.  It is planned to extend services to regional Southeast Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

What is the market failure being addressed?

Logan City ranks among Australia’s most culturally varied regions, proudly recognised as a Refugee Welcome Zone where new arrivals are settled into their new lives. The city is also home to significant communities of Māori and Pasifika peoples, among various other ethnic groups, all within a region marked by communities facing considerable social challenges.

This rich diversity, however, presents its own set of challenges in social care. Evidence shows that individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds access care services at just half the rate of their non-CALD counterparts and that there is a mismatch between social care service demand and available culturally appropriate services.  

There is frustration at the barriers imposed and a resulting reluctance to use care services, which are often not culturally sensitive and feel unsafe. Across the care system, staff are often poorly trained in culturally safe practices, with little understanding of the additional needs of people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Additionally, a common obstacle for many within these communities is their struggle to find employment opportunities that offer a living wage. This difficulty is often compounded by barriers such as limited English language proficiency or insufficient educational qualifications, which restrict their access to the broader labour market.

Despite these challenges, individuals from these communities are interested in working in, or starting. businesses within the care sector, attracted by the opportunity to provide meaningful community service and achieve economic stability. However, the complexity of navigating business compliance and reporting requirements poses a substantial obstacle, often deterring individuals from pursuing careers or entrepreneurship in this field. This discouragement underscores the need for more accessible pathways into the care sector for those eager to contribute and thrive.

What is the project seeking to achieve?

Care Factor Co-operative is dedicated to serving Logan’s diverse and multicultural community by creating meaningful, dignified and stable employment opportunities in the care sector that is accessible to everyone. Our first specialisation will be developing the CALD Communities to deliver culturally appropriate, safe, holistic in-home care and support. This approach will effectively mobilise an untapped workforce to help address this thin market, while reducing unemployment and immediate care sector labour shortages.

Our second focus area will be tackling the anticipated labour shortages and skills deficits. In collaboration with senior schools, we plan to launch pre-employment initiatives that combine education and training to guide young people towards careers in healthcare. Specifically, we will spotlight careers in Individual Support Care and pathways to nursing and allied health, including Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology – areas often overshadowed by the more traditionally favoured careers in medicine and law.

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second-best time is now.” 
– Chinese Proverb

If we are going to address the critical shortages facing our healthcare sector of the future, we must start by working with our students of today.

Alongside starting training in Individual Support care, the project aims to start services in NDIS in-home support in 2024, before expanding into aged care services by 2025. This phased rollout will allow expertise to be built up in disability support, setting up a smooth transition into the aged care sector.  

two women lauching laughing while sitting closely on park bench
Ageing society concept with Asian elderly senior adult women sisters using mobile digital smart phone application technology for social media network among friends community via internet communication

Hear from KCLC’s Care Factor Co-operative

“Palpable frustration exists in the community which is driving a strong interest in having better work and business opportunities. The readiness and leadership within many communities that comprise Logan is there, as is the pride that people have in the city.”

“The prospect of becoming part of a worker co-operative has sparked a groundswell of interest and excitement in the community.” 

“To ensure a steady stream of qualified support and care workers steeped in culturally safe practices and who understand how to work in a co-operative setting, we will introduce tailored, nationally recognised workforce training.”

“This will build workforce diversity, including people with a disability, and create dignified living wage employment that supports people to transition from often precarious work situations into cross-sector care employment.” 

Project leaders

Yolanda van Gellecum, research and evaluation consultant and published author
Rob Jurlina, education and business consultant

“The prospect of becoming part of a worker co-operative has sparked a groundswell of interest and excitement in the community.”

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